Danny Murphy has claimed that Antonio Conte is not showing faith in Tottenham Hotspur centre-forward Dane Scarlett.
Speaking prior to Spurs’ 1-0 extra-time FA Cup defeat against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night, the Italian manager lavished the 17-year-old hitman with praise, with the 52-year-old stating of the teenager: “Dane’s working really hard and he is a really good prospect from the academy.
“He is for sure at this moment the best prospect from the academy. Dane has to continue to work very hard, we are trying to find the best solution in the training because he has a long history with injuries. He has great potential, he is only 17.
“It was a signal for him because he deserved this opportunity to play a few minutes [against Leeds United]. I don’t give a gift to anybody. They have to deserve this opportunity.”
However, after only introducing the youngster in the 115th minute of the cup tie, BBC pundit Murphy (via TEAMtalk) said after learning of Conte’s comments regarding the striker: “Well, he should have put him on earlier then. If he has got that much belief in him. Give him the opportunity because [Spurs] have been way off it.”
With all three of Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo and Conte quite clearly being in awe of the potential Scarlett possesses, Murphy’s general point regarding the latter’s faith in the youngster would not appear to be wide of the mark.
Indeed, Mourinho handed the then-16-year-old Scarlett both his Premier League and Europa League debuts last season, as well as stating of the centre-forward: “I know he’s still very young and it is probably too early for the next World Cup, but Tottenham Hotspur have a striker in Dane Scarlett, who, if everything goes well, is going to be phenomenal. For England, there is lots of promise.”
Mourinho would also call the teenage sensation a “diamond” during a glowing review of his promise at the capital club.
Meanwhile, during his brief spell in charge of Spurs, Nuno furthered the England U19 international’s integration into the senior squad, handing the £225k-rated striker 260 minutes of first-team football, in addition to stating of the teenager: “Dane is 17-years-old. It is tough for him but many of our players, when they were 17, were not involved in first-team football. He is full of talent.”
However, following Conte’s appointment at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium back in November, the £3.4k-per-week forward has played just ten minutes of first-team football – seven of which came against Middlesbrough on Tuesday – by far and away the fewest minutes any Tottenham manager has awarded the youngster.
As such, considering the fact that the Italian currently only has the option of Harry Kane as an out and out number nine, it would very much appear a wise move for Conte to finally start unleashing the Spurs starlet on a much more regular basis over the remainder of the season.
Developing the 17-year-old before the club’s 2022/23 campaign could well be an extremely budget-friendly way of solving Tottenham’s major issue up top.